Daniel Ellsberg on PRISM: We’re “a Turnkey Away from Tyranny”

Daniel Ellsberg and a panel of legal and political experts warned an overflowing crowd at St. John’s Church in Berkeley on Tuesday night that American civil liberties are in jeopardy.

The consensus of the (well-timed) panel — which, in addition to Ellsberg, included legal activist Nadia Kayyali, journalist Norman Solomon, and Icelandic Parliament member Birgitta Jónsdóttir— was that the government’s recent collection of American citizens’ phone records is unconstitutional. And we should all be concerned.

Ellsberg, who rose to fame in 1971 when he turned over the infamous Pentagon Papers to The New York Times, pulled no punches. He said that Edward Snowden’s recent leak — which revealed that the National Security Agency has been collecting Americans’ data for years — is the most important in United States history, and that the government’s sweeping access to our metadata leaves us “a turnkey away from tyranny.”

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